Wednesday, 2 February 2011

The Green Grid – new management and shifting direction

Green Grid The Green Grid is a group of IT companies and professionals looking to improve energy efficiency in data centres. The organisation’s aim is to bring together efforts to standardise on a set of metrics, processes and technologies – the widely used Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) measure for data centres comes from The Green Grid. The nearly 200 members include most major IT companies.

The organisation made a couple of significant announcements last week. Executive Director Larry Vertal, one of the founders, has stepped down. He will be replaced by Mark Monroe, also a founding director and with 30 years of experience in the IT industry including direct experience in data centre design and operations. Mark worked for Sun Microsystems for 16 years, with responsibility for internal, customer, and industry thought leadership on sustainability and energy efficiency topics.

The organisation also announced that it is expanding its focus to ‘address the sustainability and resource efficiency of information technology’. The broader sustainability focus will be a main topic of discussion at The Green Grid’s forthcoming Technical Forum and Members Meeting on March 1-2 in Santa Clara, CA. The event’s theme, “Get Connected: Efficient IT for Business Advantage,” aims to emphasise the importance of data centres as key business differentiators. Sessions are aimed at explaining how tools from The Green Grid can help chart a path to more energy efficient, sustainable, and cost-effective data centre facilities.


The change in direction is not unexpected, in fact I’m not sure if there’s anything new here, given that the organisation has already announced new metrics such as the Carbon Usage Effectiveness (CUE) and Water Usage Effectiveness (WUE). Maybe there will be more details at the March meeting.

Certainly, considering broader sustainability issues around data centres must be a good thing – it’s an essential part of enterprise-wide sustainability. My reservation, which I’ve expressed a number of times in the past, is the potential overlap with other green ICT organisations. The Green Grid has carved itself a leading position in data centre energy efficiency. The danger is that the broader scope will create overlaps with other organisations, such as the Climate Savers Computing Initiative (CSCI), Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) or even the Open Data Centre Alliance, which I mentioned yesterday.

Too many cooks can muddy the waters and dilute the message (if you see what I mean!). 

© The Green IT Review

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